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The impact of the cost of living crisis on children: Brian's experience

10 June 2022
My name is Brian, I am a single parent to one daughter, we live in the south of England and I claim disability benefits. The impact on children due to the rising cost of living is heartbreaking and will have a long term impact on them. Being a single parent with a teenage daughter is tough enough but now we are having to make cutbacks to the bare minimum. My daughter now has to live in a cold, dark home as I am unable to afford the rising cost of gas and electricity, which is having a real impact on her studies during exam times. My daughter is 16 years old and currently studying hard for her GCSEs and looking forward to continuing studies for her A levels after the summer.

'You must fit the box': Universal credit and mental health

24 February 2022
Our social security system should be a source of support for everyone who needs it – including those experiencing mental health problems. Several years into the roll-out of the universal credit system, we wanted to find out whether the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) responds to the needs of people with mental health problems to ensure they can access universal credit (UC) fully. We spoke to almost 30 universal credit claimants with mental health problems, and the picture they painted was a worrying one.

Making a difference together: five key lessons from Covid Realities

24 January 2022
The cost of living crunch is rightly attracting lots of attention, with millions fearful of how they’ll get by as costs rise yet further. There is an urgent need to provide families with more support through our social security system: a system that has become unfit for purpose following cut after cut, with successive governments seemingly unwilling to recognise that social security is an investment in us all.

Poverty and mental health: causes and effects 

10 October 2021
Universal credit has been high in the headlines this week as the government cut it by £20 a week. We joined many others in strongly condemning this cut, knowing just how much pressure it will place on already-struggling families. Some have argued that the cut might harm the mental health of those affected, and parents have expressed this fear to us. The social security system should be a source of support for those experiencing mental health problems, rather than a cause of those problems. This World Mental Health Day, we are reflecting on how well the system provides that support.

Universal credit and mental health

07 May 2021
There is no doubt that the past year has changed all of our lives in ways we could not have imagined - affecting our relationships, our finances and our mental health. For families living on a low income though, the daily stresses of getting by were unfortunately nothing new, and the pandemic has only made matters worse. Families have faced additional costs such as higher food and energy bills associated with staying at home more. New evidence shows that those in the greatest financial difficulty going into the pandemic are more likely to have reported mental health problems.

'We honestly didn’t know how to survive'

18 September 2020
My name is David. I'm married with three children. I have worked several minimum wage jobs from care worker roles to handyman of a restaurant chain (I am now furloughed). I’ve had ongoing mental health problems and although I'm still medicating I feel I have beaten depression largely and my anxiety is more manageable. I am right now affected by the two-child limit and benefit cap - this alongside a stressful transition to universal credit has caused much stress to both my wife and me, putting a strain on our relationship, generally leaving us wondering how we are going to survive at times. 

Learning after lockdown: school bells herald extra costs

03 September 2020
This week, schools in England will open their doors to their full school community for the first time in almost six months. We know that families with children have been hardest hit by the economic effects of the pandemic, with 2 in 5 facing financial difficulty, and that the lowest paid have been most badly affected. In this perfect storm of a difficult lockdown and worsening household finances, there needs to be much more focus on family income as children return to school.  

Making the links: Poverty, austerity and children’s social care

05 August 2020
What effect have poverty and austerity had on children and families? Earlier this year Child Poverty Action Group, Association of Directors of Children’s Services and researchers from the Child Welfare Inequalities Project surveyed social workers on the frontline, and the report of what they told us – out this week - makes for sobering reading.

Black children’s lives matter

19 June 2020
Black lives matter, particularly the lives of children. Poor children are more likely to be behind in school than their wealthier peers, have reported lower sense of well-being, have poorer health outcomes and even employment difficulties in adulthood. But we don’t talk enough about the fact that some children in black and minority ethnic (BME) families are more likely to experience poverty.

Old-fashioned kinds of poverty affecting child health

12 May 2017
It’s nearly a year since the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health first joined forces with Child Poverty Action Group to explore the links between poverty and children’s health. We know that four million children in the UK live in poverty, and we know that there is a demonstrable link between social disadvantage and poor health outcomes...